Marriage should be strengthened, not redefined

Father John A. Kiley

The American public has just enough Puritanism left within its ranks to bring a blush to the face when sex is mentioned in polite society.

Perhaps this is why the discussion concerning same-sex marriage has focused on civil rights on the left and biblical mandates on the right. The sexual ramifications of same-sex unions are rarely mentioned. But let’s be perfectly honest. People marry to have sex – or to legitimize the sex they are already having. To disconnect marriage from sexual relations and to consider marriage only as a romantic merger of souls is to rob this most physical of relationships of its essential element.

The reason sex rarely enters the homosexual marriage conversation is that sex is intrinsically geared toward reproduction. The male seed and the female egg exist precisely to propagate the human race. The male sperm is useless unless it is introduced to the female egg. The female egg is discharged as superfluous when it does not encounter the male sperm. So-called homosexual marriage would completely nullify these two sexual functions. Both the male sperm and the female egg would be wasted in same-sex unions. There would be no hope whatsoever of fulfilling marriage’s most basic impulse – the introduction of new life into a family and into society.

Homosexual marriage would therefore be dishonest – employing the trappings of reproduction (sleeping together) but with absolutely no hope of effecting any true reproduction (off-spring). The word “dishonest” is chosen deliberately here because homosexual unions are devoid of a very basic truth. The true function of the male sperm is denied in a homosexual union. Sperm simply becomes a wasted fluid. The true function of the female egg is ignored during lesbian sex. It is a cell that will never multiply. This elemental dishonesty must not be overlooked in any discussion about same-sex unions.

The homosexual component of modern society is not entirely to blame for separating reproductive sex from marriage. Contraception became fashionable in the 1930s and was given a major boost in the 1960s with the introduction of the pill. Now heterosexual couples can engage in sex with no regard for the true purpose of the male sperm and the true intention of the female egg. Contraception nullified the need to reflect on the wonderful, life-giving possibilities of the human body. Sex meant pleasure, not parenthood. Today homosexual unions simply capitalize on contraception’s destructive lead. The chickens have come home to roost – or, in this case, not to roost.

Some might ask what the difference is if a heterosexual couple detaches marriage from sex or if a homosexual couple separates the two. If heterosexual marriage has survived contraception, then surely same-sex unions can prosper as well. But heterosexual unions have not endured under contraception. It is no accident that no-fault divorce, single parenthood, surrogacy, abortion, homosexual adoption, the “boyfriend” phenomenon, in vitro fertilization, and other departures from traditional married life have abounded in our modern society. Once the link between marriage and new life is severed in people’s minds, both marriage and new life become debatable and, sadly, expendable.

Others might still argue that if heterosexual couples can have marriage without parenthood then certainly homosexual couples can have marriage without parenthood. Except that marriage intentionally without parenthood is not authentic marriage. The life-giving spousal relationship called parenthood that has defined marriage for centuries has been abandoned. The vocation to be husband and wife has been severed from the vocation to be father and mother. This fracture is a complete alteration of what every society has understood marriage to be since history commenced. The current arrogant attempt to tamper with the natural law written in the hearts of men and women by redefining marriage will clearly aggravate the threats to an already fragile family life in modern times. Voters, legislators and courts should be strengthening marriage, not redefining it.